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Both/And (and PB protein bars)

DSCF2198resizeIn any given moment we can choose to align more closely with our truth or disregard it. The choice to disregard is so tempting, especially when it usually involves consuming some kind of yummy food to override the yucky feelings we are having. It can be such an automatic reaction to discomfort that some folks might not even feel like they are making a choice at all. The brain’s protective instinct picks up on the discomfort and the hand dives into the popcorn bowl; the reaction time is so quick that the choice to do otherwise seems non-existent. Once that track is set into motion, the autopilot turns on and it feels almost impossible to shift ourselves out of it.

As we become more and more aware of our energetic, physical, and psycho-emotional states, it’s harder to tune out when something is off. We may still reach for food like an old familiar friend we know is a jerk, but we also know that we will have to address that discomfort eventually. Our brain may get a bit fuzzy or buzzed from the sugar we’ve just consumed, and the discomfort in our stomachs might throw us off the scent a bit—but inside we know there’s a deeper something that requires our attention. When we know this, the efforts to numb with food feel like a futile exercise.

We owe it to ourselves to attend to those feelings. The next time you turn to food, try to also maintain awareness of the discomfort or uneasiness you are feeling at the same time: “I’m eating this popcorn and wow that feeling in my chest is really intense!” I’m willing to bet you won’t consume as much AND you’ll create an opportunity sooner rather than later to check in with that feeling so you can comfort or express it in the ways that it needs. Let the feeling be there with the eating. Just remember, it might feel uncomfortable but it ain’t going to kill you!

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I had a delicious snack bar at the Forks Market in Winnipeg last week. It reminded me of a peanut butter marshmallow bar, you know, the ones with the pink and green marshmallows that are sickly sweet but somehow delicious? (i.e., the kind that make your brain feel fuzzy and buzzed.) The recipe here is my attempt to recreate that bar based on the ingredient list. This version, however, is loaded with healthy things and high in protein yet it still manages to deliver the sweetness and the chewy comfort of those marshmallow treats. It may look like a lot of ingredients but, trust me, each one adds a little something. Feel free to play around by skipping or substituting what you might not have on-hand. One thing I would not recommend omitting is the kamut puffs, particularly if you’re after that marshmallow-like chew.

Coconut Peanut Butter Forks Bar

  • 1 cup unsalted natural peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup unflavoured protein powder (I used pea protein)
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp granola of your choosing
  • ¼ cup coconut
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 3-4 tbsp chocolate chips (or butterscotch chips for non vegan)
  • 2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup puffed kamut
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp coconut extract (optional)
  • ¼ tsp butterscotch extract (if not using butterscotch chips)

In a large mixing bowl or using a mixer, combine peanut butter, protein powder, honey and molasses. Once combined, add remaining ingredients and mix until well-incorporated. Line an 8×8 tin with parchment paper and press your mixed ingredients into the pan. Let chill for an hour or two, and then cut into bars for an easy on-the-go protein powered snack.

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